Route 224 work will pause for holiday season

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Poland residents were given a chance at Tuesday’s Village Council meeting to ask questions and give comments on the U.S. Route 224-Interstate 680 construction project.

Traffic is slow at the interchange, but the goal of the $5.4 million project is to make it safer for drivers getting on and off the highway.

“The exit from 680 getting onto 224 West is the absolute worst intersection since almost time began,” said Boardman resident John Klimko.

“Just on the 680 southbound ramp to 224 eastbound, from 2005 to 2007, we’ve had over 30 crashes, and about another 20 at the intersection of 224 and Tiffany,” said ODOT District 4 spokesperson Brent Kovacs.

Kovacs said new ramps onto I-680 should open the first week of September. Work will be put on hold at the end of October to reopen the bridge for the busy holiday shopping season.

“It’ll be back to normal for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we’ll be resuming work back down to one lane in each direction in early spring, sometime in April or May,” he said.

“I think that is a good thing in one way, but in other ways I think maybe they should wait until the weather gets bad so they can get the project over as soon as possible,” said Poland Village resident Marion Gillette.

The entire project won’t be done until October 2014. Residents said other things could be done to speed up the process.

“Two shifts will get the project done much quicker. It’ll help out the businesses, the residents and everyone involved,” Klimko said.

Kovacs said the project was bid with the way the shifts are set up currently and that is how the project will be finished.

Klimko said the project desperately needs to be done, but the residents would just like the project to be done sooner.

Another issue residents expressed concern about was whether motorists should detour or not. They said a lot of that depends on the time of day motorists are trying to drive through that stretch of road.  Some say it’s better just to wait it out, rather than going all the way south to Western Reserve, or north to Midlothian to access Interstate 680.

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